KCB to secure accounts with fingerprint, voice identity

Monday December 18 2017

A customer transacts at a KCB automatic teller machine. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A customer transacts at a KCB automatic teller machine. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By MUGAMBI MUTEGI
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KCB Group #ticker:KCB is set to introduce a biometric access system that will allow customers to use their fingerprints and voice to securely log into their accounts, including getting services at ATMs.

The tier-one lender has placed a tender inviting qualified technical experts to deploy the authentication technology on its core banking system, which is also expected to curb fraud.

This will see KCB become the latest lender to deploy the biometric technology, following in the footsteps of Equity Bank and Standard Chartered that have already rolled out such a system.

“The solution will provide…easy customer biometric feature on boarding process, easy to use application to authenticate customers, secure, reliable and auditable administration of the customer biometric features,” says KCB in the tender document.

Increase transaction pace

KCB intends to implement the authentication system on its mobile, ATM, online banking and at its branches, increasing the pace of transactions in its banking halls and allow customers securely access services.

A year ago, StanChart #ticker:SCBK introduced fingerprint access technology to the Kenyan market.

Dubbed Touch Login, it allows customers securely access the lender’s full range of mobile banking services from moving money between accounts and checking transactions to paying credit card bills and sending electronic cashier’s orders.

Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY has been using fingerprint identification for even longer.

Currently banks rely on customer verification documents — mainly ID card and passport — and signatures to confirm the authenticity of clients.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM recently introduced voice biometric system aimed at reducing fraud and helping its customers to reduce cases of identity theft.

Banks have been victims of fraud, with annual losses running into billions of shillings.

Poor controls

The losses have been attributed partly to poor controls by the lenders who are not legally required to roll out biometric systems for their operations.

KCB said its voice and speech system should be able to create and maintain “a database of voice prints and fraudsters” as well as “blacklist users to be authenticated using voice across all channels.”

Similar capabilities are required of the fingerprint system.